poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Thursday, July 22, 2004

'Marriage Protection Act' Passes House; Task Force Calls Vote 'Disgusting'
Statement from Matt Foreman, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director:

"This is a sad day for all Americans, not just because the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that seeks to deprive gay and lesbian Americans access to federal courts to challenge the ugly Defense of Marriage Act. It is particularly sad because 233 members of Congress ignored their oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States by voting in favor of a measure that is blatantly unconstitutional.

On the positive side, 194 Members of Congress rejected this mean-spirited, divisive, disgusting and clearly unlawful bill. And, it is now clear that - as in the U.S. Senate - the "Federal Marriage Amendment" is far short of the two-thirds majority (290 votes) it would need to pass."


The Marriage Protection Act (MPA) is the House of Representative's way of continuing the anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) right's stab at the LGBT community. This act, if passed, would strip power from all federal courts - including the U.S. Supreme Court - from ruling on cases involving the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The MPA would disbar such courts from hearing and ruling on any cases arguing against DOMA. This act is unconstitutional and illegal for myriad reasons


U.S. appeals court narrowly upholds only blanket gay adoption ban
Associated Press Writer

MIAMI -- Florida's gay adoptions statute has narrowly withstood another legal challenge, but with some dissenting federal judges seizing the chance to condemn the nation's only blanket ban of adoptions by homosexuals.

In a 6-6 vote, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta declined Wednesday to reconsider the case of four gay men who already lost to a three-judge panel of the court.

But one dissenting judge said the law was "irrational" under the equal protection clause of the Constitution because it singles out gays and no other groups. Another said he would move to change the law if he were a Florida legislator.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the request for the full appeals court to hear the case after the three-judge panel in January ruled against the men, foster parents seeking to adopt children in their care.


Come learn the 'T' at the Transgender Institute
By Imani Williams

DETROIT - The theme of this year's Transgender Institute is 'Dishing T: Commercial Sex Workers vs. Mainstream Employment.' Demetris Taylor, organizer of this year's Institute, is making sure that bases are covered in getting the word out about the area's T- community. In past years, the Institute has only been open to people who self-identified as trans. This year, if you admit you need education and are willing to learn, you're invited.

The event hopes to, "Challenge the images seen in what I see as the Jerry Springer era, as well as people who constantly refuse to see our trans sisters as human beings and are always negative and dehumanizing," says Taylor.

He hopes honest dialogue addressing the beliefs that many people hold about the Trans community will help bring about some solutions. Taylor wants to shatter the myth that everyone in the T community wants to be a "show girl" or that they all have an insatiable desire to "work the stroll."

"When a trans person cannot utilize resources to maintain a healthy living, like being able to pay the rent, buy food, clothes, and other necessities, a trans woman or man will resort to whatever is necessary to secure their livelihood. The T community is often criticized and ridiculed resulting in some people becoming belligerent, hostile, and not taken seriously, creating a catch 22 within the LGBT community," says Taylor.


Ahmadis Warn Against Gay Marriages
Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)

An appeal has gone to elders of religions in Ghana to see the solemnization of homosexual marriages in America as a challenge, to preach against this phenomenon from taking root in the country.

Mr. Khalid Ahmad, Greater Accra Regional President of the Majlis Ansarullah (Ahmadiyya Muslim Elders' Association) made the appeal at the 16th Annual Regional rally of the association in Accra.

He said homosexual marriages that started in two states in the United States of America recently, were likely to be promoted in Ghana in the coming years in the name of human rights.

When that happened, Mr. Ahmad said, the Ghanaian government would be helpless as it may not be able to resist it in the name of human rights and for fear of angering western countries who regard it as a right.


Judges delay two Davis hate crime cases

Two recent Davis hate crime cases in Yolo County may not be prosecuted with hate crime enhancements by the district attorney's office.

Hate crime enhancements to the theft and vandalism charges can increase both punitive fines and sentences.

On July 14, a Yolo County judge continued the preliminary examination for Jowad Younis, who was arrested on Apr. 29 for stealing an Israeli flag from Hillel House and tagging the house with his graffiti name.

The delay until Sept. 1 gives both the defense and prosecution time to determine whether the Hillel House qualifies as a person under the protection of the hate crimes enhancement.


Groundbreaking pro-trans decision
By Jay Kaplan

With the media focusing on the proposed federal and Michigan constitutional amendments that would ban all forms of legal recognition of same-sex relationships, it ’s not surprising that a groundbreaking legal decision for the transgender community has not received all the attention it deserves.

On June 1, 2004, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit (which covers Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio) issued a unanimous decision holding that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment both prohibit employment discrimination against transsexuals.

Before I overwhelm you with too much legalese, let's provide a little background about this case. First, the federal circuit courts of appeals are the second highest federal courts in the United States. After the United States Supreme Court, they are the highest legal authority on a federal legal issue. Second, federal and Michigan civil rights laws do not cover discrimination based on gender identity or expression, which would pertain to the transgender community. Third, Title VII is a federal law covering sex discrimination in employment, and applies to both public and private employers. Lastly, the Equal Protection clause of the United States Constitution is used to challenge discrimination against a particular group of people by the government.

Jimmie Smith, born male, had a successful employment history with the Salem Fire Department in Ohio. Diagnosed with gender dysphoria, he began transitioning from male to female. After Smith informed immediate supervisors about this transition, they met with city officials to devise a plan to have Smith terminated. Salem's safety director, who was part of this meeting, informed Smith about this plan. Smith then contacted an attorney, who telephoned the mayor to warn about legal ramifications if the City went ahead with the plan. Four days later, the fire chief suspended Smith based on an alleged infraction of a City or Fire Department policy, a charge that was later found to be without merit.


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